New York, NY, April 26, 2007—James R. Tallon, Jr., president of the United Hospital Fund of New York, has been elected chairman of The Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation working toward a high performance health system. Mr. Tallon has served as a director of the Fund since 1996, and is a member of its Executive & Finance Committee. He takes office on November 14, 2007, succeeding Samuel O. Thier, M.D., who has served as chairman since 2002.
"Jim Tallon has long been dedicated to improving the quality of health care and insurance coverage, both as leader of the United Hospital Fund and during his long service in the New York State Assembly," said Dr. Thier. "This wealth of experience makes him exceptionally well qualified to lead the board at this crucial time."
Mr. Tallon is recognized nationally for his leadership in health care policy. A member of the New York State Assembly for 19 years, he served as Chair of the Health committee from 1979 to 1987, and as Majority Leader from 1987 to 1993. Upon leaving the State Assembly, Mr. Tallon joined the United Hospital Fund, the nation's oldest federated charity addressing critical issues affecting hospitals and health care in New York City. More recently, Mr. Tallon headed New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's Health Care Policy Advisory Committee during the gubernatorial transition period in 2006.
"Mr. Tallon has a deep commitment to helping drive the nation toward a high performance health system," said Karen Davis, president of The Commonwealth Fund. "Throughout his career he has worked especially hard on behalf of those who are most vulnerable—the uninsured, low-income Americans, racial and ethnic minorities, children, and frail elders. His leadership will be a great asset to the Fund."
In 1995, Mr. Tallon was awarded honorary doctorates from the College of Medicine and School of Graduate Studies of the State University of New York Health Science Center at Brooklyn and from New York Medical College. In 1999, Empire State Reports named him as one of 25 leaders whose work resulted in sweeping improvements in the lives of New Yorkers in the past 25 years.
Mr. Tallon is currently chair of the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured and Secretary/Treasurer of the Alliance for Health Reform. He is also on the boards of the Institute on Medicine as a Profession, the New York eHealth Collaborative, and the advisory board for the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence. In addition, he is a former board member of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, and served as a member of the Prospective Payment Assessment Commission (ProPAC). He has held visiting lecturer appointments at both Columbia University and Harvard University schools of public health.
Mr. Tallon also serves as a member of the New York State Board of Regents, the constitutionally established supervisory body of all education and education-related activities in New York.
He and his wife Norma live in Binghamton and New York City, and they have three adult sons.